By Myrna M. Velasco
With just summer days entering the core, power supply in Luzon had been pulled into breaking point once again due to simultaneous maintenance shutdown as well as forced outages of power plants.
Data from the Department of Energy (DOE) showed at least five generating units under scheduled maintenance downtime and eight plants under forced or planned outages.
It was similarly gathered that prices in the Wholesale Electricity Spot Market (WESM) had spiked to the level of R10 per kilowatt hour (kWh), an industry state that if sustained will make a dent on the consumers’ electric bills.
As noted by Manila Electric Company (Meralco) First Vice President and Head of Networks Ronnie L. Aperocho, the “yellow alert condition” in the grid at the start of the week as declared by system operator National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP) had been “mainly due to gas restriction dilemma at the Malampaya gas production facility.”
The plants on shutdown according to schedule had been the: 50-megawatt Unit 3 of the Angat hydropower plant; 300MW Unit 2 of the Calaca coal-fired power facility; 315MW Unit 2 of Masinloc coal plant; the full 460MW Quezon Power Philippines Ltd. Co. power plant; and the 122MW Unit 2 of the South Luzon Thermal Energy Corporation plant.
The generation facilities on forced outages as of Monday (February 26) were: the 382MW Unit 2 of the Pagbilao coal-fired power plant; the 316MW Unit 1 of the GNPower plant; 55MW Unit 5 of Makiling-Banahaw geothermal plant; 121MW Unit 2 of Southwest Luzon Power Generation Corporation; 150MW unit 1 of the Malaya thermal plant; 50MW Unit 8 of MakBan facility; 265MW Module 50 of the San Lorenzo gas-fired power plant; and the 316MW Unit 2 of GNPower plant.
Factoring in all of the power plants on outages, this resulted in total 2,902 megawatts being taken out from the system – hence, straining the required reserve margin in the power grid.
NGCP advised industry stakeholders that Malampaya operator Shell Philippines Exploration B.V. was scheduled to “ease up the restriction on the gas fuel supply for Ilijan gas turbine to 1,101MW from 852MW” as of 1:00 p.m. on Monday.
The DOE indicated that the plants on maintenance shutdown have total capacity of 1,247 megawatts; while those on forced outages are at higher 1,655 megawatts.